• Colleen Tews

“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance"

Updated: Jan 29

Its 1:22am EST. My brain is wired, though my eyes burn and every part of my body is screaming at me. Why don’t I simply go to bed? I want to sleep. At least I think I do, right?

Insomnia is a bastard a lot of us can relate to during these stressful times.

How many nights do you lie in bed, toss and turn, your thoughts run a mile a minute –if not faster. In a blink of an eye 25 minutes go by, then another 40. BAM! 90 minutes of rest eluded you.


You swing your feet from the crumpled comforter, leave the annoying comfort of your bed, and go to the bathroom. Drink a small glass of water. Maybe splash some of that cool liquid on your face. It clears some of the haze, but does nothing to stop the rapid thoughts.

In the living room you try reading a book. Your tired eyes cannot focus on the words. You headache transforms into a migraine. Time to Netflix and chill.


Three hours of cuddling with your beloved furbaby on the couch watching The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina it asks if you’re still watching. At this point the kids are about to wake up. You click “Yes”.


You sleep through your alarm. Thankfully your kids and spouse are accustomed to this happening. They have your back. The three of them work together to kick the day off properly while you snore away in the living room.


What is causing these occurrences to increase in frequency?


For me, all work and no play. I thrive on working constantly. I can’t get enough. I don’t want to miss out on something. Before I wrote this I signed in to Hootsuite to schedule my Twitter posts and got sidetracked when I saw #MondayBlogs.


My whole day is like that when I hit a mania spree. Music is always on. I rarely watch or read (right now). I have to schedule self-care i.e. showers, taking prescribed medication, or brushing my teeth. Forget my hair. It is in a ponytail forever.


I work, sleep when I can –and I take sleeping pills- and if I remember, I’ll eat more than one meal. Usually that meal is dinner because my husband is home. Since he is eating, I eat. The kids eat at school most days.


Aside from scheduling alarms to remind me when I need to do things, what else could I be doing to break this cycle?


1) Talk with (not to) my support group when I notice signs and symptoms returning. My counselor and I have a wonderful report. I tell her everything, nut she isn’t always around. One of the issues we’ve worked on is me being able to express myself to others. Not only has this made me stronger, more confident, and overall happier, but it has made me a better writer because my prose is more distinct.


2) Don’t be so hard on myself. I can’t control when these mood swings happen. However, I can handle how I react to them. I used to cry and apologize and apologize for apologize when I didn’t do something like my old self. Had a seizure? I’m sorry. Stayed up all night? I’m sorry. Scared everyone because I fainted in the bathtub and took the shower rod with me? You guessed it. I apologized for that, too. It got old fast.


3) Stop and think before I engage my mouth. Assuming never helped anybody. And it is easy to jump to conclusions or spring to action when you’re wrapped tighter than a spring in a pinball game. What happens when we assume? It makes an ass out of u and me.


4) Chill my tits. I say this to River all the time when she goes on a wild barking rampage. “River! Chill your tits!” She listens to that better than “Silence”. How does it relate to me? It reminds me I need to meditate. Feel the breath. Light some incense. Slow my thoughts. Take time for me, not simply time for my work. Sit back with a bowl of chocolate ice cream, while I burrito myself in my favorite faux fur blanket, and escape into a book.


Politics. Kids. Economy. Marketing. Writing. Editing. Extended Family. Health. Technology. Climate Change. There are too many things out there to get us all worked up. If we don’t find a way to sleep at night and find balance we’re doomed. It won’t matter if you write the greatest novel in history. Without balance no one will ever know about it because they’re too busy jumping at their own shadow to take a few minutes out their hectic day to find their own balance.


What tricks do you use to maintain balance? I could always use more tips. Maybe something you do could help someone else, too.

River is cuddling with my youngest daughter. She is burritoed under my fave faux fur.

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